Music

Introducing DEADLY, the new YouTube channel dedicated to reggae culture

© Press
Written by Phillip Williams
DJ and presenter Becca Dudley is one of reggae's most enthusiastic advocates. Now she's created a new platform to shine a light on the genre she loves.
Arguably, UK music wouldn't be in the fine shape it's currently in without the big music platforms – the likes of SB:TV, GRM Daily and Link Up TV – pushing daily videos out to an eager fanbase. But it's hard to ignore, though, that these platforms deal almost exclusively in the field of grime and UK rap, and other thriving genres don't necessarily have an online space to call their own.
Reggae is one of those genres that's regularly overlooked in the online space. But Becca Dudley is out to change that. A DJ and presenter for MTV and BEATS 1, Dudley has long been an advocate for reggae and dancehall culture. Now, with her fresh YouTube channel DEADLY, she's hoping to create an online presence for reggae culture in all its forms, producing a regular stream of live performance, music videos and interviews with the giants of the genre.
With names like Koffee, Protoje and Chronixx already signed up, it feels like DEADLY is going to be one to watch. Red Bull Music caught up with Becca to find out where the inspiration for the channel came from – and where it's going next.
Photo of presenter/DJ Becca Dudley
Becca Dudley
It was important to me to start this channel with purely Jamaican artists, because that’s where reggae music is rooted
Becca Dudley
So can you tell me a little bit about your decision to start the DEADLY channel – obviously it's the music that you love, but did you feel there was a gap in the market?
I spend hours on so many different sites searching for new musicians, interviews, and cool videos and content, and I noted that there weren't really any channels that created purely original content. So I definitely wanted DEADLY to be the place to go to for creative, cinematic and cool sessions and interviews with some of the sickest artists in reggae and dancehall, as I haven’t seen anything like that yet.
What kind of stuff are you hoping to shoot? The early videos have been shot in Jamaica – what else are we going to see?
So far we’ve shot with 30+ artists in Jamaica. It was important to me to start this channel with purely Jamaican artists, because that’s where reggae music is rooted. We’ve seen people take from the culture so much, but I wanted to make sure we are shining a spotlight on the people and the music that has influenced the rest of the world. In January 2020 we are shooting our third series out In Kingston, then we will be starting on our London series which I am so, so excited about! We plan on taking this around the country and the world, as well as visiting other genres that have been heavily influenced by Jamaican music. There’s so much to do but I’m taking my time with it, so we can do the music justice and get it right.
You're working with your partner Charlie Sarsfield, who has shot music videos for Stormzy and Zara Larsson, among others. What makes him the perfect collaborator?
Charlie joined a year after I started DEADLY by myself, and as soon as he came on board, he took the visuals up to a whole new level. His mind is fascinating – he’s constantly bursting with new ideas, and I’m always blown away by his ability to make the best of any situation.
We are working on zero budget, so we have to be creative with what we’ve got and sometimes we turn up to shoots in Jamaica having never seen the location, and no idea how many people were dealing with, what sort of lighting etc. Yet every time Charlie turns it into something incredible. He has a real admiration and respect for the culture and he captures the spirit of it perfectly and authentically. Which means artists can’t wait to be shot by him!
Have you drawn inspiration from the way that other YouTube channels have done things – any that are in particular that you admire?
I think it’s important that we don’t watch what other channels are doing too much, and focus on what we want to make, because we want to be original and authentic. That being said a big inspiration to start DEADLY was a Vogue piece on the reggae revival back in 2015, it was shot so beautifully raw and I wanted to push that idea even further on a bigger scale. I have endless respect for people like Jamaal Edwards. He has definitely paved the way for channels like DEADLY and I admire how he has gone on to create an entire business through SBTV. He’s given me some words of wisdom along the way too and I’m very grateful for that.
Any ambitions for the channel in the long-term? Where do you see it going?
I see DEADLY as so much more than just a video platform – it’s a lifestyle brand, it’s events, its fashion, and studios, it’s films, it’s travel. Theres so much we want to do and so many places we want to take it, but we want to grow from the ground up and take it step by step. I feel like we're not in a race, we're not trying to win, we're just doing what we love, and trying to get more people to feel the same about our biggest passions.
Visit DEADLY on YouTube here